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Learn more about your credit report and score

There are a variety of organizations involved in helping to assess your likelihood of paying back money you've borrowed. To better understand credit, you need to begin by understanding the various organizations and processes involved in determining whether to offer you credit, and at what terms. Here are some of the items to know:

What are credit bureaus?

Credit bureaus collect information from lenders and other data sources, create a comprehensive credit report, and provide this data to potential lenders and others that might need to assess your creditworthiness, such as landlords.

What are lenders?

Lenders determine your creditworthiness in many ways, including evaluation of the information on your credit profile. They also regularly contribute information about your loans - the amount borrowed, whether you have made timely payments, and so on - to credit bureaus, including the three national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

What is a credit score?

A credit score is a three-digit number that results from a mathematical formula being applied to your credit report. Credit scores may differ from one source to the next because different lenders use different credit scoring models. And since a score is based on frequently updated credit files, it may vary over time. It is entirely healthy and routine for your credit scores to change slightly, but generally a good idea to keep track of your score so you can notice any dramatic changes.
The credit score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind, third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.

What are credit reports?

Credit reports, also known as credit files, are composed of the data a credit bureau has gathered about you from lenders and other sources. Credit reports include records of mortgage payments, credit card balances and payments, auto loan payments and credit inquiries. It may also include public records.

Why is my credit score from you different than what I've seen elsewhere?

Some people are surprised to learn that there is no universal credit score; instead there are many companies that apply many models - all based on your credit report data. Each takes a slightly different approach to calculating a score. For US customers, we use the VantageScore 3.0 credit score based on your data from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, respectively. Any one bureau VantageScore mentioned is based on Equifax data only. Other companies are likely to use different types of scores to determine your creditworthiness. For Canadian customers, we use the CreditVision credit score that is based on TransUnion data.
Many lenders use a FICO score when determining your credit worthiness, which is a different model than the VantageScore and CreditVision models. In addition, not all credit bureaus have the same data on file. Lenders or other sources such as collection agencies may not report all information to all bureaus. Due to the number of credit scoring models, the different information that can be found in your reports, and the time they were pulled, you can see differences in the scores you receive from different sources.
The credit score is intended for your own educational use and not to determine if a company will approve you for credit. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind that third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.

What is a credit scoring model?

Credit scoring models are developed to provide a numerical interpretation of the information in your credit report that has been tested to be predictive. This gives lenders a statistical measurement of how likely you are to pay back a loan. Some people are surprised to learn that there is no universal credit score; instead there are many companies that apply many models - all based on your credit report data.
For US customers, we use the VantageScore 3.0 credit score based on data from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, respectively. Any one bureau VantageScore mentioned is based on Equifax data only. Other companies are likely to use different types of scores to determine your creditworthiness. For Canadian customers, we use the CreditVision credit score that is based on TransUnion data. Third parties use may use many different types of credit scores to assess your creditworthiness. Your credit scores tend to change slightly over time, but we recommend you try to keep track of your score so you can notice any dramatic shifts.
Many people confuse credit reports with credit scores, but the two are quite different. Understanding that difference can help you to figure out why you have a particular score.
The credit score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.

Are you a credit repair organization or credit monitoring service?

We are neither a credit repair business nor a credit monitoring service. We help proactively safeguard your credit and finances, and if you are a victim of identity theft, we we'll work to fix it - but we do not promise to repair your bad credit, because that is something we just cannot do.
Certain product plans include credit monitoring, but we are much more than just credit monitoring alone. With credit monitoring you are only notified of changes to your credit file, such as new loan applications, after they are reported to the credit bureaus. Our alert network includes a variety of product features and data sources and serves as a link between consumers, lenders, and merchants. Although it is very extensive, our network does not cover all transactions at all businesses, so you might not receive an alert in every single case.

§For NortonLifeLock offerings provided to you by a Service Provider or through channels outside the United States, the LifeLock identity theft protection services and coverage, plan feature names and functionality might differ from the services offered directly by NortonLifeLock. Please contact your Service Provider for details on their NortonLifeLock plan offerings.

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DOCID: v126234534
Operating System: Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS
Last modified: 11/01/2021